The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a federal aid program from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that is dedicated to providing medical care and nutrition to pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and low-income minor children. This program is designed to improve the nutritional status of those it serves, which can have a positive impact on their overall health. The USDA recognizes the potential of WIC to reduce long-standing disparities in maternal and child health. Good nutrition is an essential factor in maintaining and promoting health, especially given the global increase in non-communicable diseases, such as vascular diseases and cancer, in most countries.
Nutrition complements other factors in early childhood that promote development and encourage healthy behaviors that, hopefully, will last into adulthood. Studies have demonstrated that people who receive subsidized juices have a net increase of 34.8% in the proportion of people who consume more fruit juice. Additionally, participating women get a 10 to 20% increase in their consumption of specific nutrients and foods due to these food subsidy programs. In order to maximize the effectiveness of WIC, FNS is investing in WIC outreach and program modernization.
This includes giving priority to outreach, improving the shopping experience, investing in and diversifying the WIC workforce, and modernizing technology and service delivery. Longitudinal controlled studies of sufficient duration to quantify the extent of any reduction in chronic diseases based on specific improvements in nutrition would provide the strongest possible empirical basis for food subsidy programs. The Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is an important federal aid program that is designed to improve the nutritional status of those it serves. The USDA recognizes its potential to reduce long-standing disparities in maternal and child health, while evidence suggests that participating women get a 10 to 20% increase in their consumption of specific nutrients and foods because of these food subsidy programs. FNS is investing in WIC outreach and program modernization to maximize its effectiveness.